Fats

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered am ar 17 Mai 2024.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Lord McColl of Dulwich Lord McColl of Dulwich Ceidwadwyr

To ask His Majesty's Government what current guidance they have issued about the maximum recommended dietary intake of (1) saturated, and (2) unsaturated, fat per day; and on the basis of what scientific evidence they made such a recommendation.

Photo of Lord Markham Lord Markham The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

The Government encourages everyone to have a healthy balanced diet in line with the United Kingdom’s healthy eating model, The Eatwell Guide, which shows that foods high in saturated fat, salt, or sugar should be eaten less often, or in small amounts. The Government’s dietary guidelines are based on recommendations from the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) and its predecessor, the Committee on Medical Aspects of Nutrition Policy (COMA), and based on comprehensive assessments of the evidence.

In its 1994 report, Nutritional aspects of cardiovascular disease, the COMA recommended a reduction in the average contribution of total fat to dietary energy in the population to approximately 35%, and that trans fats should provide no more than approximately 2% of dietary energy. In relation to unsaturated fatty acids, the COMA concluded that: monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) had no specific recommendation; for n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), there should be no further increase in average intakes, and the proportion of the population consuming in excess of about 10% energy should not increase; linolenic acid provided at least 1% of total energy; and alpha linolenic acid provided at least 0.2% total energy. The report also included recommendations on saturated fats, which were updated by the SACN in 2019.

A joint SACN and Committee on Toxicity report, Advice on fish consumption: benefits and risks published in 2004, endorsed the recommendation that the population, including pregnant women, should eat at least two portions of fish per week, one of which should be oily. Two portions of fish per week, one white and one oily, contains approximately 0.45 grams per day of long chain n-3 PUFA. This recommendation represented an increase in the population’s average consumption of long chain n-3 PUFA, from approximately 0.2 grams to approximately 0.45 grams per day.

The SACN’s 2019 report on saturated fats and health recommended: the dietary reference value for saturated fats remains unchanged, and the population’s average contribution of saturated fatty acids to total dietary energy be reduced to no more than approximately 10%, which also applies to adults and children aged five years and older; and that saturated fats are substituted with unsaturated fats, as it was noted that more evidence is available supporting substitution with PUFA than substitution with MUFA.

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